A passion for thought

Critic's choice: Theater

August 08, 1999|By J. Wynn Rousuck

What is the artist's place in politics and society? Can art effect change? These are among the themes explored by the Potomac Theatre Project in two productions being presented in repertory at Olney Theatre Center -- "Stanley" and "Havel: The Passion of Thought."

The plays, which run through Aug. 29, inaugurate Olney's new Mulitz-Gudelsky Family Theatre Lab.

Based on the life of the late British artist Stanley Spencer, Pam Gems' "Stanley" had a brief Broadway run in 1997. Alan Wade portrays Spencer at Olney, under Cheryl Faraone's direction.

"Havel: The Passion of Thought" is a bill of five short plays, directed by Richard Romagnoli. Three of the offerings -- "Audience," "A Private View" and "Protest" -- are by Czech president and playwright Vaclav Havel. The others are Samuel Beckett's "Catastrophe," which was dedicated to Havel, and Harold Pinter's "New World Order," which deals with related issues.

Olney Theatre Center is at 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney. Tickets are free, although seats can be reserved in advance for a $4 service charge. Call 301-924-3400.

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